Irish Ferries W.B. Yeats which has been delayed in resuming Ireland-France 'cruiseferry' sailings by almost three months due to Covid19, has finally begun its 'seasonal' service role, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Afloat tracked W.B. Yeats depart Dublin Port yesterday for the first sailing to Cherbourg which was originally scheduled to have taken place in mid-March.
The ferry operator is continuously monitoring the evolving Covid19 situation in relation to passenger travel and has FAQ's through this LINK for consultation.
In addition Irish Ferries maintain links for essential travel such as repatriation and travel for carers/essential workers including medical staff.
As for freight traffic this has been consistent throughtout the ongoing health crisis in playing a critical role in the supply chain. This enables keeping supermarket shelves remain stocked and important pharmaceutical and medical supplies shipped.
Since the end of the 2019 season, ropax Epsilon has maintained the year-round operated service until Monday of this week. On this day, the Irish Government eased the Covid-19 restrictions under Phase 2, noting as for travel limits they be lifted from the end of June. For important travel information from the Dept of Foreign Affairs click here.
Also on that day Afloat tracked the arrival to Dublin of the chartered ropax ferry from France followed by W.B. Yeats from Holyhead, Wales. Later it would be the case for both cruiseferry and the 'no-frills' ropax make Dublin-Holyhead sailings as scheduled.
Also due to Covid19, all fastferry sailings by Dublin Swift that were due to resume seasonal services in April are cancelled.
W.B. Yeats had as scheduled served on the Ireland-Wales during the winter months in tandem with the route's main cruiseferry Ulysses and the aforementioned Epsilon. As for W.B. Yeats service on the Irish Sea short-sea route was longer then planned due to Covid19 that led unexpectingly into the Spring.
During that timeframe, Ulysses was away for several months for planned annual dry-docking but this year took place in Poland, where emission 'scrubbers' required by the EU Sulphur Directive to reduce pollution were installed. Such features are included in the 2018 German shipyard built W.B. Yeats though the superstructure was completed in Poland and towed by barge for heavy-lift transfer onto the hull.
W.B. Yeats return to service saw the cruiseferry today make an arrival to the French port located at the northern tip of the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandie. Its location is notably ideall for those intending to the visit the Normandy beaches involved in the WW2 where the D-Day Landings took place on 6th June 1944. Last year marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Normandy where Irish people served among the allied forces invasion of occupied France.
Returning to the present where at the French port is from where at the time of writing, W.B. Yeats departed bound for the Irish capital where it is due to make an arrival tomorrow morning before resuming sailing again at 1600hrs.
The Port of Cherbourg SAS is operated by the private company whose shareholders are the West Normandy Chamber of Commerce and Louis Dreyfus Shipowners. This established French shipping company through a subsidary LD Lines, was a big player mostly in the 2010's by rapidly expanding a route network involving France, UK, Ireland and Spain but is no longer in existance.
Among its earlier routes launched was Le Havre-Rosslare in late 2008 however this was short-lived as LD Lines ceased the service in the next year. However they chartered the route's ropax Norman Voyager to Celtic Link Ferries (now part of Stena Line). See recent related story here.